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Heavy downpours cause flash floods

Heavy downpours have led to flash flooding along the south coast, with one area getting as much rain as it would usually do in a whole month.

Portland in Dorset was the worst hit, with 2.3in (57.8mm) of rain falling over a nine-hour period compared with a monthly average of 2.5in (64.3mm) for the county, according to the Met Office.

Bournemouth was also badly affected, with vehicles including buses breaking down and roads closed due to the sudden downpours.

Parts of the town centre were closed, including Exeter Road where a wall collapsed and ruptured a gas main, causing homes and businesses to be evacuated.

Stephen Davenport, a senior meteorologist with MeteoGroup, said: "There was flooding in parts of Dorset caused by torrential thundery rain, especially in the south where nearly 20mm (0.8in) of rain fell in just one hour between 10am and 11am.

"Over 50mm (2in) accumulated in places in six hours between 6am and midday. Swanage reported 19.4mm (0.8in) between 10am and 11am, and the Isle of Portland, just south of Weymouth, 17.4mm (0.7in)."

In neighbouring Hampshire, police and fire crews also dealt with flooded roads after a day of heavy rain. A motorcyclist and passenger were treated by ambulance crews in Burley after coming off the vehicle on Forest Road and the motorcycle ended up submerged. In the Winchester area there were reports of widespread flooding with the services at Sutton Scotney on the busy A34 dual carriageway affected.

The Environment Agency said there were no flood warnings in place in the area as the rain had only caused a build up of surface water and had made little impact on river levels.

Crews from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service were involved in more than 100 flooding-related call-outs during two-and-a-half hours on Thursday morning, a spokeswoman said.

The majority of incidents were centred around Bournemouth town centre and the outlying areas of Springbourne, Boscombe and West Cliff, but also as far west as Lulworth and east towards Christchurch. Specialist fast water rescue and wading teams assisted people stranded in vehicles after being caught out by the rapidly rising water levels. Firefighters also pumped out homes which were flooded, some up to waist deep.

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